I want to thank Gov. Janet Mills for striking a blow in the fight against cancer and increasing access to Medicaid for more than 70,000 Mainers. Her decision to implement the will of Maine voters will help protect our communities from cancer’s deadly toll.

A critical factor in determining whether someone survives a cancer diagnosis is whether they have health insurance. People without health insurance are less likely to get recommended cancer screenings and more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, when it is costlier to treat, and they are less likely to survive.

As a cancer survivor and an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, I have seen this firsthand. Simply because I had health insurance, I was able to have my cancer diagnosed and treated successfully. Many Maine families haven’t been as lucky. During her inaugural address, Mills told the story of her friend Patty, who “died needlessly from breast cancer, a disease that could have been diagnosed early, treated, and cured.”

By acting swiftly to increase access to Medicaid, the governor has given more than 70,000 Mainers access to the quality, affordable care they need to help prevent and treat cancer and live a healthy life.

Jeff Bennett